Tuesday, February 24, 2015

This Week's Lesson: February 22

Taught by Karen Johnson

I think in preparing for this lesson I have learned the importance of reading
these talks multiple times. Every time I read this talk something else stuck out
to me, so I would love to just pick apart the whole talk but I think we will just
have to pick out a few things to discuss.
The focus of this talk is how we are commanded to give to the poor and the poor
in spirit.

Why are we asked to give to the poor?

• Commandment
• We grow and learn from service
• To be more like Christ, who administered to the poor and afflicted

Commanded to give to poor:
How can we give to poor?
Take care of our own, fast offerings. Does anyone have a story of maybe
someone they know who has been blessed by fast offerings.

Mark 14 6 and 8
1. When, prior to His betrayal and Crucifixion, Mary anointed Jesus’s head with
an expensive burial ointment, Judas Iscariot protested this extravagance and
“murmured against her.”7
Jesus said:
“Why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work. ...
“She hath done what she could.”8
“She hath done what she could”! What a succinct formula! A journalist once
questioned Mother Teresa of Calcutta about her hopeless task of rescuing the
destitute in that city. He said that, statistically speaking, she was accomplishing
absolutely nothing. This remarkable little woman shot back that her work was
about love, not statistics. Notwithstanding the staggering number beyond her
reach, she said she could keep the commandment to love God and her neighbor
by serving those within her reach with whatever resources she had. “What we
do is nothing but a drop in the ocean,” she would say on another occasion. “But
if we didn’t do it, the ocean would be one drop less [than it is].”9 Soberly, the
journalist concluded that Christianity is obviously not a statistical endeavor. He
reasoned that if there would be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over the ninety and nine who need no repentance, then apparently God is
not overly preoccupied with percentages.10

Mosiah 4
16 And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor;
ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will
not suffer that the beggarputteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out
to perish.
17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery;
therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart
unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—
18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great
cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he
perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.

Mosiah 4:19 For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the
same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and
raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of
every kind?
2. “For one thing, we can, as King Benjamin taught, cease withholding our
means because we see the poor as having brought their misery upon
themselves. Perhaps some have created their own difficulties, but don’t the rest
of us do exactly the same thing? Isn’t that why this compassionate ruler asks,
“Are we not all beggars?”11 Don’t we all cry out for help and hope and answers to
prayers? Don’t we all beg for forgiveness for mistakes we have made and
troubles we have caused? Don’t we all implore that grace will compensate for
our weaknesses, that mercy will triumph over justice at least in our case?
He who is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone. He who never
asks for help, let him be the first to judge those that do.

I have two children. I wanted them, I had them on purpose, I even went to extra
measures to get pregnant, but do I need help sometimes? Absolutely.
Little wonder that King Benjamin says we obtain a remission of our sins by
pleading to God, who compassionately responds, but we retain a remission of
our sins by compassionately responding to the poor who plead to us.”

We OBTAIN a remission of sins by pleading with God, we RETAIN by
compassionately responding to the poor who plead to us. So what does that
mean that's who we retain a remission of our sins? It means we are sinning if we
don't help the poor. It is a sin of omission.

Mosiah 4:26 And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto
you—that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day,
that ye may walk guiltless before God—I would that ye should impart of your
substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such
as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to
their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants.

4.Now, lest I be accused of proposing quixotic global social programs or of endorsing panhandling as a
growth industry, I reassure you that my reverence for principles of industry, thrift, self-reliance, and
ambition is as strong as that of any man or woman alive. We are always expected to help ourselves before we seek help from others. Furthermore, I don’t know exactly how each of you should fulfill your obligation to those who do not or cannot always help themselves. But I know that God knows, and He will help you and guide you in compassionate acts of discipleship if you are conscientiously wanting and praying and looking for ways to keep a commandment He has given us again and again.

4. I do not know all the reasons why the circumstances of birth, health,
education, and economic opportunities vary so widely here in mortality, but
when I see the want among so many, I do know that “there but for the grace of
God go I.” I also know that although I may not be my brother’s keeper, I am
my brother’s brother, and “because I have been given much, I too must give.”
Just like any service, it is to help others, but is also for our good, it makes us better people, it
stregthens our testimony, we are following God's commandments, and He will bless us for our
efforts. I challenge you to ask God how you can give and be open to an answer.

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